This group was first discussed here, now some more details.
We will meet bi-monthly from the end of March to early June, resuming in the fall. Some of us will meet in person while others will participate through videoconferencing. Two different kinds of meetings will occur each month: one, a class on concepts and practices of effective climate activism; the other, a time to plan, revise and carry out individual or group projects. For the activist portion, we will apply three “vital behaviors” addressed in the class sessions. Leave a comment (saying “do not publish”) to sign up for the group.
A tentative list of topics offers a starting point for discussion, revisable as we go along:
• Sources of information Which sources can I count on, and why? How do I choose between conflicting sources? Which communicate to people like me/different from me? What do IPCC and the sources they rely on say that makes me uncomfortable? How do I respond to this discomfort?
• Education Which facts and images are most likely to push the public to consider changing behavior (e.g., polar bears, changes in precipitation, higher temperature, health effects)? Experiences may be more persuasive than data, but data matter. How can we combine these to communicate effectively?
• Communication strategies Some work, some don’t. How do I tailor messages to people like myself vs. people who are different; what about cultural barriers; resistance to/distrust of data?
• Confusions about solutions What makes a real difference? How can we shift focus from small-impact solutions (eg, recycling and avoiding hair spray) to large-impact solutions aimed primarily at climate change? How do we evaluate and explain to others which solutions are worth working on?
• Handling emotions How do we help people perceive the urgency of the problem, then prevent despair once they do? What are the emotions (e.g., denial, fear) that lie behind refusal to talk about climate change, insistence that it isn’t happening, or insistence on certain solutions? How do we balance our ideals with desires for “the good life”?
• Envisioning the future Our message is not about how things are going to get better—because they won’t. Suppose the best we can do is to get worse less fast? How can we use thinking about the future to galvanize action rather than mire us in defeat?
• Targeting influencers Given the limits of our own personal influence, whom can we reach to change their message? (e.g., politicians, environmental groups, news media, on-line groups.)
• Burning Issues What are the current policy debates an activist should prepare for? E.g., do we have technology today to address climate change or do we need to invest in future technologies? Cap and trade vs tax – both or which, and why? Aid for green solutions in other nations? Revised codes for architecture? Other laws?
Muir Woods—We all have pictures in our mind of the beauty of Earth. What are yours?